The Campy, PG-13 Horror of "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina"


I have a thing for PG-13 horror. As I’ve written before, there is something undeniably fun about the horror genre, but I like my blood and guts to follow still the standard Hero’s Journey where the would-be victim turns the tables on her assailants and walks away stronger in the end. In those cases, the high stakes and higher body counts provide a certain goofy realism to the activities. This isn’t Buffy the Vampire Slayer when one of the Scooby Gang and in danger, this is Buffy when Tara dies, and suddenly you realize that each character's actions have consequences.

The new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina feels like an extension of the Buffy-verse, though actually, it is an extension of Archie Comics. Based on the recent Archie Horror comic imprint of the same name, the series takes the character of Sabrina far darker than the 90's sitcom show you might remember, but not so much that your middle-schooler couldn't watch.

Young, half-witch Sabrina Spellman wrestles with the competing values of her human friends and witch family on the eve of her 16th birthday, which also happens to be her Dark Baptism. As we soon learn, there are big plans for Sabrina, lots of secrets to be unearthed, and many mystical baddies that all want to piece of her (sometimes literally).

It's a fun show, and I enjoy the cinematic camera-work (though not everyone agrees). Sabrina is a magical, teenage heroine of our time. Empowered (in more ways than one), outspoken and confident, she lives by her principles and forges her path in a world that consistently demands that she choose sides.